Steele’s job security

STEELE’S JOB SECURITY…. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, a former conservative Republican congressman, argued yesterday that RNC Chairman Michael Steele “should resign or be fired.” The sentiment didn’t seem far-fetched, and Scarborough wasn’t the only one expressing it.

Under different circumstances, Steele’s ouster would be a no-brainer. He is, by most measures, the single worst party chair in recent memory, and has been a near-constant embarrassment to himself and his party since inexplicably winning this job 14 months ago. Steele has failed in pretty much every professional endeavor of his adult life, and this is no different.

That said, Steele probably isn’t going anywhere. It’s an unpredictable dynamic — no one ever knows what Steele might do next — but Chris Cillizza notes that the RNC chair seems to enjoy reasonable job security.

Although RNC officials were quick to point out that Steele was not in attendance at the gathering and had no knowledge of it, it makes little difference in terms of his questionable reputation among the GOP chattering class. Steele is the chairman, period. That means that anything that happens at the RNC — good or bad — accrues to either his credit or his detriment.

For all those wondering whether this story will be the one that forces Steele out at the RNC, remember that two-thirds of the committee men and women would have to vote him out and there is no one — not even Steele’s most bitter enemies — who think [sic] that is a possibility. Simply put: Unless Steele resigns (not likely) or some other major revelation that links him directly to this night club incident comes out, he will be the chairman through 2010.

Any chance Steele might just quit and save himself the aggravation of infuriating his allies? I doubt it. Let’s remember, it wasn’t too long ago when Steele was conceding that he’s “been in a little bit of trouble but I don’t care.” He said his Republican critics need to “shut up” and “get a life,” adding, “I am in this chair. If they want it, take it from me. Until then, shut up, step back and get in the game and help us win…. Get with the program. I’m the chairman. Deal with it.”

Doesn’t sound like the kind of guy inclined to walk away.

As for the prospect of RNC members simply throwing him overboard, this, too, seems unlikely. Not only is a two-thirds vote a high threshold, but it’s unlikely Republicans would make such a move just seven months before the midterms.

For what it’s worth, I talked to one DNC official yesterday who was genuinely worried that Steele may be forced out ove this latest controversy. Dems, at this point, want Steele to remain just where he is.

They’ll likely get their wish.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.